Never Before, Never Again; The Autobiography of Eddie Robinson

Overview

Franklin Roosevelt was America's President when Eddie Robinson coached his first game. Fifty-seven years later, Robison left Grambling as the winningest coach in the history of college football. Initially a coach for a segregated society, Eddie Robinson has helped football transcend race in the America he loves and treasures. Yet institutionalized racial barriers kept Robinson a secret from white America for more than 25 years until Howard Cosell did an ABC special on Grambling in the late 1960s. Outside of the ...

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Overview

Franklin Roosevelt was America's President when Eddie Robinson coached his first game. Fifty-seven years later, Robison left Grambling as the winningest coach in the history of college football. Initially a coach for a segregated society, Eddie Robinson has helped football transcend race in the America he loves and treasures. Yet institutionalized racial barriers kept Robinson a secret from white America for more than 25 years until Howard Cosell did an ABC special on Grambling in the late 1960s. Outside of the world of sport, white America still barely knows him. In the African-American community, he is very likely the best-known coach in America. He is surely the most beloved.

Never Before, Never Again chronicles Coach Robinson's life and his time at Grambling in vivid detail. He overcame all those things that might have predicted that it was not possible for the son of a sharecropper and a domestic worker to become a success. He got a master's degree, became the president of the American Football Coaches Association, and helping thousands of young boys become outstanding men. More than wins, they may be his greatest legacy.

But as much as Coach Robinson's memoir is about sports, it's a social history history as well. The book is a lens through which readers can see the challeges and turmoil of the civil rights movements from the perspective of a sports figure who worked the playing fields of a black campus while caring deeply about the stakes and outcome of the struggle . This book places the hard-news events of the day in the time frame of the trails of Robinson's Grambling teams of that era. Also included are the thoughts of other coaches (both college and NFL) on Coach Robinson, as well as those of national leaders like Reverend Jesse Jackson, M.J. "Mike" Foster, the governor of Lousiana, and President Clinton.

Never Before, Never Again stands as lasting testimony to the work of a true American hero.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Nobody has ever done or will do what Eddie Robinson has done for this game. Our profession will never be able to repay Eddie Robinson for what he has done for the country and the profession of football." - Joe Paterno, Penn State University
Library Journal
At Grambling State University Robinson was considered the "winningest coach in college football history." Here, he traces his 57 years at the school, showing how "dedication and hard work despite seemingly unconquerable obstacles" made him successful. (See review p. 92.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The philosophy of one of the top coaches in college football is showcased in this loving, uncontroversial autobiography. Robinson coached football at Grambling University, a traditionally African-American school, for 57 years. At the beginning of his career, colleges—and society—were still segregated, but Robinson handled each obstacle with a grace and determination instilled in him from childhood. This book, which is co-written with Lapchick, a columnist for the Sporting News, doesn't offer Coach Robinson's play-making techniques or much about the actual events or results of the games. It also skims over any controversy (such as NCAA investigation of violations and possible player criminal activities), focusing instead on Robinson's modest, life-is-good perspective. Major social events, such as the civil rights movement, are presented as background only, since Robinson's life was basically carried out in the community of Grambling. He wasn't an active or vocal participant in any protest, but rather broke down barriers just by doing his job as best as he could and by instilling his values into his student players ("I learned I could accomplish more by working for change within the system rather than openly fighting against it," he says). College football's integration occurs through social change and through the evolution of television, the opportunities for black colleges to play in the classics, and because of Robinson's ability to turn out talented players, many of whom became successful in the NFL, including Doug Williams, Willie Davis, and Willie Brown. What ultimately comes across in this autobiography are Robinson's basic beliefs: love of family (he is extremelydevoted to his wife, Doris), love of country, love of the game, and commitment to responsibility. While one is treated here to Robinson's genial personality, the beloved coach is too humble to dwell on his accomplishments, so readers will have to find other sources to detail Robinson's true significance for the game. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312242244
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Eddie G. Robinson spent 57 years as the head coach of Grambling University. He won an unprecedented 408 college football games and sent 220 players to the NFL. He was recently inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. He lives in Grambling, LA.

Richard E. Lapchick was selected as one of the "100 Most powerful people in sport" by The Sporting News. Lapchick brought his experience as a civil rights activist, scholar, and author to Northeastern University where he founded and has directed the Center for the Study of Sport in Society since 1984. He has written nine books and is a regular columnist for The Sporting News. Lapchick serves as an advisor to the Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Commission on Fairness in Sport and to the players assocations of the NBA and NFL on the issue of racial hiring practices in sport.

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